Deaconess emeritus Annie C. Bell, 93, peacefully entered into heaven after a long life of magnificent faith, dedication and love on Monday, April 29, 2013, at the residence of her daughter and son-in-law at 20000 Loyal Ave., South Chesterfield, Va.
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She was born on July 5, 1919, to the late Deacon Charlie L. Cook and Deaconess Vinnie Walker Cook, and was educated in the Chesterfield County Public Schools. As the oldest of eight brothers and sisters, she was baptized at age 12 by the Rev. E.T. Jackson, pastor of Third Baptist Church, Petersburg, Va. After her family relocated to Chesterfield County, they united with Shiloh Baptist Church, where she joined the Usher Board Ministry at age 17 and continued to serve as an usher until she became a member of the Senior Choir, which was renamed Sanctuary Choir.
The late Rev. E.E. Hicks married Annie Cook to Alfred Jennings Bell on April 14, 1942, in Petersburg, Va. They were blessed with four children
Sister Bell also united several other organizations to include: The Pulpit Aide Society (Pulpit Aide Ministry), Missionary Society (Ministry) and the Sixty Plus Connection Ministry. She also became affiliated with several organizations within the community to include: Rural District Convention, King David Lodge #236 (merged with the Hopewell Lodge #246), Alease Cooley Memorial Tent #718 and she participated in senior activities held at the Mayes-Colbert Community Center.
Sister Bell became a deaconess on Jan. 26, 1960, when the Rev. Fred J. Boddie Sr., the pastor of Shiloh, found it necessary to organized a Deaconess Board (Ministry). The board was organized to assist the deacons with their work within the church and community. This work included assisting the deacons, and visiting the ladies and younger females of the church. Deaconess Bell is the last survivor of nine ladies appointed to the original Deaconess Board. The "deaconess emeritus" title was bestowed upon Sister Bell in March 2002 for her dedication, faithfulness and loyalty to this ministry. Sister Bell was also a member of the Genesis Parrish.
Sister Bell was employed with the Chesterfield County Public School System as a food service employee where she was the second black to work at Matoaca High School, which opened in August 1963. At Matoaca High, Sister Bell was known for making and baking hot buttered rolls. She retired after 20 dedicated years with the county.
Sister Bell was selected as "Mother of the Year" of Shiloh Baptist Church on May 10, 1992. The Division of Women of Area A-3 of the Baptist General Convention honored her as a life member in May 1999. She is also a member of the Deacons and Deaconess Union (Diaconate Union) of Chesterfield County. Sister Bell has served as missionary for over 60 years, serving in several positions and on many committees.
Cherishing her memories are her children: Kathy B. Bowles (David), also her caregiver, of South Chesterfield, Ida Lee (Raymond) of Midlothian, Va., Alfred J. Bell Jr. (Barbara) of Baltimore and Wayne Bell of South Chesterfield, Va.; one sister, Gladys Carlisle of Pittsburgh; one brother, Daniel Cook of Pittsburgh; two sisters-in-law, Ruth Cook of Petersburg, Va., and Irene Cook of Pittsburgh; nine grandchildren, Sybil (Rico Sr.) Coleman, Andrea Lee, April Lee, Mia Woodson, LaTonya Bowles, David Bowles III, Terrance Jackson, Derrick (Mari) Mickles and Ivy Bell; eight great-grandchildren, Khadijah Coleman, Rico Coleman Jr., Marvin Woodson, Danielle and Desiree Mickles, Iyana Bell, Iomni Bell and Mijonia Bell; also, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and many, many devoted friends (too many to list).
The memorial service will be held 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at the chapel of William N. Bland & Son Funeral Home, 137 Harrison St., Petersburg, with the Alease Cooley Memorial Tent No. 718 and other guests.
A service of love and thanksgiving will be held noon Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at the Baptist Children's Home of Virginia Inc., 6900 Hickory Road, South Chesterfield, Va.; the Rev. Marcus Leggett, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, South Chesterfield, officiating and the Rev. Charlecia Harrison eulogizing. Interment will follow in the Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery, 6711 Hickory Road, South Chesterfield.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the staff of William N. Bland & Son Funeral Home, 137 Harrison St., Petersburg. For more information or to leave an online condolence, please visit www.blandenterprisesinc.com.
Published in The Progress-Index from May 1 to May 6, 2013